When living in a small community there are expectations of civility and cooperation.
Fortunately, the clichés and idyllic images about small town living are mostly rooted in fact, so typically our expectations are met when it comes to a spirit of care and cooperation.
Because we come to expect these considerations from our neighbours and community it is all the more surprising when there is a violation and people behave uncaringly or with indifferent.
On a quiet morning in early March while shoveling snow in her driveway with her two small dogs nearby, McLennan resident Wendy Bonsan was shocked when a neighbour drove over one of her dogs and though he stopped for a moment when she yelled and then banged on his window, he behaved with complete indifference.
“I was shoveling snow at about 8am on a Saturday morning. There wasn’t a soul around and I could hear my dogs in the house so I thought I would just let them come out.
“The dogs ran across the street to my neighbour’s yard because I look after her house while she is in Mexico and they are familiar with the place. Otherwise they never leave my yard.”
On this occasion, Bonsan called her two, very small shih tzu mix dogs back to her house and while they were crossing the neighbour’s truck came up the street.
“They were across the road so I called them back and then this truck came from about five houses up. He let the first dog go no problem and then he sped up and ran right over the other one.”
The bleeding and shocked animal took off and Bonsan had to follow it in case it got in another accident. However, the neighbour who was aware of the distressed animal just drove off.
Had the dog been a larger animal its injuries would have been graver but fortunately the vehicle just grazed its back and apart from being traumatized, the animal sustained no severe injuries.
Although we may feel confident with our pets close to the house, this is also a cautionary tale for owners, as a dog off-leash can be vulnerable accidents or cause a hazard even in a familiar environment.
While Bonsan accepts responsibility for her dogs being off-leash, she was shocked that her neighbour’s behavior. She was surprised that he stopped only when she yelled at him and then only for a moment.
He also refused to acknowledge what he did or offered any kind of assistance when the injured dog ran off.
Bonsan says she hopes that her neighbour’s behavior is not a sign of things changing in the community and that this is an isolated incident.
“Even if he called by the next day to enquire about how the dog was doing, that at least would be something,” she says, “but complete indifference is not what one might expect.”